Cheapies, Contd.

After this morning's post on Nick Green's home run, somewhat in response to a complaint from a YF in an earlier thread about how cheap it was (and how sports media should be berating Fenway Park for allowing so many such home runs), I emailed Greg Rybarczyk, who runs Hit Tracker, the home run tracking site that will waste two hours of your time before you even realize it.

Inspired by Brad's question in that post, I asked Greg basically whether there was a way to see which park's notoriously easy home run spots tended to be utilized more often.

A little debate is developing about the relative “cheapness” of the home runs allowed by the respective ballparks, especially in light of Yankee Stadium’s new title as Coors Field East and yesterday’s walkoff cheap shot by Nick Green.

I’ve read your emails with Yankee bloggers in the past about how the straightening of Yankee Stadiums’ right field wall has effectively shortened the dimensions at that park, and some of us were wondering if that change makes right field at Yankee Stadium an easier place to hit a home run that would otherwise be an out (or non-HR hit) in every other park than down the lines at Fenway. Is there some way for us to figure this out on your site, or do you have a spare moment to run some numbers?

Greg was kind enough to reply with a pair of extremely enlightening diagrams, which follow the jump.

The first is a simple overlay of Yankee Stadium with Fenway Park. It shows what we all znow: That Fenway's left-field wall is extremely shallow, but its center and right fields are deep, while Yankee Stadium's right field is quite shallow.

NYS_vs_Fenway_Overlay

Greg writes:

<As everyone knows, each has its own "short field", YS in RF, Fenway in LF.  The overlay reflects this.  However, in the Red Sox' short field, their wall is 37 feet high, while the Yankees short field has an 8 foot fence.  Big difference there, as each 1 foot of fence height equates to roughly 0.84 feet of fence distance.  Since the Green Monster is 29 feet higher than the YS right field fence, it is as if it were about 24 feet farther back.  This makes LF at Fenway only slightly easier for home runs than LF at Yankee Stadium (although much easier for doubles).  In right field, Fenway is much deeper, and not very different in fence heights, so overall, Fenway Park is tougher for home runs than the new Yankee Stadium, and in some of the 2nd deck homers at new YS would be outs at Fenway. 

 

Notice also the very small target around the Pesky Pole where Fenway is shorter than YS.  You get a few cheapies there, but it's quite uncommon to dump one over the fence in Boston down the RF line that wouldn't have made it over the RF fence at YS.

That last sentence is my emphasis, but that's a key point, and the diagram makes it very clear: If a cheap home run is snaked around the Fenway Park right-field foul pole, it probably would have done the same thing in the Bronx.

The next diagram is even more interesting. It's an overlay of the two parks, but with Yankee Stadium flipped so that right field is aligned with Fenway's left field. In other words, the shortest and deepest fields in the respective parks are aligned on top of each other.

 NYS_vs_Fenway_Overlay_LFRF_flipped

Greg writes:

This shows that, accounting for the height of the Monster, LF at Fenway is a tougher homer than RF at YS, and RF at Fenway is a tougher homer than LF at YS.  Which we all could tell, based on the numbers we're seeing so far this year…

So there you have it. I'm not of the opinion that it matters (they all count the same on the scoreboard), but If a cheap home run is going to be hit anywhere, it's more likely to occur at Yankee Stadium to right field than at Fenway Park to left or any other field.

18 comments… add one

  • I’m having trouble getting the embedded pics to show on my computer, but if you click on them, the full-size version should show up in a popup window.

    Paul SF June 22, 2009, 2:51 pm
  • I’m grabbing some popcorn, this should be a good argument!

    LocklandSF June 22, 2009, 3:02 pm
  • Feh. You can prove anything that is even remotely true with facts.

    attackgerbil June 22, 2009, 3:03 pm
  • For every fly-out-turned double created by the Green Monster in Fenway, I suspect there is a line-drive home run reduced to a double.

    Hudson June 22, 2009, 3:04 pm
  • My eyeballs told me all of that before he ever ran the numbers, but saying so only incites a flame war, so kudos to him for putting the numbers to it.

    Brad June 22, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • and in some of the 2nd deck homers at new YS would be outs at Fenway.
    Holy potatoes!

    Atheose June 22, 2009, 3:19 pm
  • As soemone who does care about ease of HRs at the new YS, this only reinforces my feeling that it is something of a joke. I know I am in the minority here among both YFs and SFs, but whereas I’d have no trouble with it simply being a “hitter’s park”, I don’t like it being among the easiest places in professional b-ball history to hit one out, and my sense from the record-setting HR pace and this interesting post is that this is what it is quickly becoming.
    Ona related note, I think there is something about tradition and “oldness” that makes funky-shaped fields (i.e. Fenway) classic and all but untouchable but, if constructed exactly the same way today, would be deemed stupid and gimmicky. There is something quaint and cool for instance about a park’s dimensions being altered to fit into an urban footprint – which then takes on all kinds of nostalgia and tradition from how those dimensions have been brought into play over a long history of games being played there whereas today the same construction would feel more like – say – a hill being put in centerfield…in other words, gimmicky and lame.
    Before my Nobel-credentials get challenged here, let me be clear – I do NOT think Fenway is gimmicky, stupid etc. I think it is maybe the best park in baseball now and I hope they never tear it down. And I don’t even know if the original reason for its shape was to “fit it in” a certain unchangeable footprint. But if someone constructed it today, I’d probably think it was moronic.

    IronHorse June 22, 2009, 3:35 pm
  • IH, you are correct. IIRC, Fenway’s builders thought they were going to be able to convince Boston to close Landsdowne Street when they began building the park. Oops.

    Paul SF June 22, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • That’s an excellent point, Hudson. That happens WAY more than anyone thinks. Hard hit balls that hit the top of the wall on a rope. What that wall gives, it certainly takes as well.

    Brad June 22, 2009, 3:51 pm
  • IH, that’s an excellent post on your behalf, buddy. My sentiments exactly.

    Brad June 22, 2009, 3:56 pm
  • I was thinking the same thing along those lines, IH. 1912 was a LONG time ago, and Fenway can be forgiven for its quarks. Same for the old YS. But anything built in this era needs to be pretty goddamn perfect.

    Atheose June 22, 2009, 4:06 pm
  • Here’s a ball Manny Ramirez hit last July that would have traveled 429 feet, according to Hit Tracker, but which hit the Green Monster in deep LCF for a double. It would have made it out of every ballpark except Fenway Park. Put that alongside Green’s wraparound homer, and you have quirky all right…
    http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200807093099315&c_id=bos

    Greg Rybarczyk June 22, 2009, 5:14 pm
  • I mostly agree with you, IH, re: quirks in the new “old” parks. I finally saw one of them this year when I visited the Mets new place. While I mostly like it, the outfield fence outline looks like it was drawn by someone suffering from the DTs. At some point, it’s just too much.
    But at what point is that exactly? If I had to choose, I’d rather the new parks suffer from too many quirks than have another generation of Veterans/Three Rivers/Riverfronts. There isn’t a universally accepted boundary in the middle.

    FenSheaParkway June 22, 2009, 6:09 pm
  • What I’ve found oddly disconcerting is to watch a game played at one of these newer parks and see some dimensional quirk that you just KNOW was meant to EVOKE a Fenway sort of quirkiness without looking too much like Fenway (but it still does). Like Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia… Kinda grows on you though. I do have to say that my favorite of the newish stadiums is Orioles Park at Camden Yards, I even like the name and while it’s not that quirky dimensionaly, that huge building as backdrop and the retro facade do it for me.

    Brian Houk SF June 23, 2009, 12:50 am
  • Camden Yards is GORGEOUS, with the warehouse in right field. That isn’t some gimmicky backdrop that they added in order to give it character: it was a preexisting building (one of the oldest in Baltimore) that they had to work around, so they did.
    I go up to see the Sox play the Orioles all the time because it’s the closest AL stadium to me (sorry Nats, but I can’t go up during a goddamn weekday–not even to see Smoltz!), and we always have a good time. Don’t wear a “Yankees suck” shirt though or they’ll kick you out.

    Atheose June 23, 2009, 7:08 am
  • Agree completely on Camden Yards – had part of a superb season ticket package just off first base for a couple years when I lived in DC and really loved the look and feel of the place.
    Maybe the common denominator is being forced to accomodate the pre-existing architecture and city plan a la Fenway & Camden Yards – it certainly gives off less of a feeling of the baseball stadium taking over the neighborhood and more a feeling of it fitting in as part of – and partially beholdeon to – the landscape.
    I like Pac Bell Park as well – even if it isn’t great for purists, the worse your seats are for the game, the more beautiful the view of the surrounding area – including harbor – is. And I like the idea of guys hitting HRs into water for some reason, though it rarely happens for anyone not on the juice…

    IronHorse June 23, 2009, 7:43 am
  • I absolutely love Wrigley and have been fortunate to see several games there. It is basically a field without quirks (besides the Ivy, if you want to call that a quirk). In fact, for a while I felt it was superior to Fenway for a number of reasons, some of which may have been influenced by alcohol.
    Now I consider them equals, in effect. It’s splitting hairs.

    SF June 23, 2009, 11:12 am
  • > it’s splitting hairs
    Maybe. I think that it is more the situation that everybody else thought it was a better idea to get a shave their heads while paying for hair implants.

    attackgerbil June 23, 2009, 12:53 pm

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